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Hi Everyone,
This is a busy newsletter. There are articles on our new mapping options, our flower picking garden, photos from the picnic, Yoga with Goats, the sheep, and Kathy’s Native Wildflower Meadow. There are several upcoming events: a green burial presentation September 12, a birds and bees walk and talk October 5, and our memorial tree-planting October 19. On September 28-29 from 10-5, we will be tabling at The Mind Body Spirit Healing Expo at The Monroeville Mall Convention Center. We will have the labyrinth there to walk. If you would like to learn how to facilitate the use of the labyrinth, we are offering a training at Penn Forest on Saturday, September 7. I hope you can attend some of these events.
But, even if you can’t, you can visit us for a bit of forest bathing, known as Shinrin-yoku in Japan (where it originated). It is the practice of immersing oneself under the canopy of a living forest in an effort to realize a host of health benefits. Check out this article to see what it’s all about and how you might benefit.
Yoga with Goats is Back at Returning Home Farm. All classes are held on Saturdays, usually (but not always) at 10 am, before it’s too hot for people and goats. Bring your playful spirit and your yoga mat for an unforgettable experience. Here are some photos from one of our classes. For class schedules and other information go to the Returning Home Farm website.
New Tour Map. If you'd like to visit Penn Forest and take a self-guided tour, now you can. Just park in our lot and take one of these tour maps, which are hanging on this red pine tree.
Flower Picking Garden. We’re happy to announce we’ve started to get flowers in our new flower picking garden. Since Penn Forest does not allow artificial flowers on graves, we built this garden to offer free, fresh flowers for visitors to put on graves or just to take home*. The garden is right on the Hiking Trail. Help yourself. You will find scissors in a neon-green container inside the garden fence.
*If you want to take some flowers home, bring a container that will hold water. The dill and basil
will wilt right away, even in water. But after a few hours in the water, they’ll stand straight up. Soon we’ll have printed directions for the best ways to cut the flowers. Volunteer weeders and advice from flower experts are welcome. We’re learning as we go.
Sheep Update. As you may have noticed, our sheep population has grown. We have two new lambs, Ellie Leanan and Siobhan [Shi-VON], AKA Cookie-Butt.. (All our female sheep have Gaelic names.)
Ellie Leanan was named after her grandmother who is white with coffee tipped ears. Leanan means “sweetheart”. Siobhan means “god is gracious” in Gaelic. Both Ellie and Cookie are Harlequin sheep, which is an all-American miniature sheep breed.
The breed started about 35 years ago when Kathleen Sterling of Black Sheep Farm East in Virginia began cross breeding sheep to get a small, spotty, hornless sheep with a friendly disposition and very spinnable fleece! It is a blend of Karakul, Tunis, Corriedale, Lincoln, Border Leicester and Romney sheep and Montadale rams. Cookie and Ellie are the friendliest girls and love to have their chins scratched! Perhaps SHEEP yoga is in their future?
The Ninth Annual Penn Forest Picnic
Our annual picnic is a time for lot owners, future lot owners, friends of Penn Forest and our volunteers to create community while enjoying great food (and it was especially good this year), local music, hikes, games, goat yoga and goat races. The Squirrel Hillbillies debuted their song, “Bury Me Green,” which references Penn Forest! Also, for the first time, Pittsburgh Community Deathcare brought their Cloud Phone for communicating with departed friends and family members. 
Once again, the weather cooperated; it was a beautiful warm and sunny day. We were able to lay out our new canvas labyrinth for meditation walks. 
This year’s picnic was held June 1st, 2019. Here are a few photos:
Green Burial Presentation at Beechwood Farms. Pete and Laura will be giving a talk on green burial, how it’s used for reforestation, and they will answer all of your questions. The date is Thursday September 12, 7-8 pm at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve. Come early if you want to hike the lands prior to their presentation. Their address is 614 Dorseyville Rd, Fox Chapel PA 15238. Hope to see you there!
Birds and Bees Walk and Talk. We will be hosting a bird identification walk and a presentation on bees on Saturday, October 5th at 9:00 am. A representative from the Audubon Society will be here to conduct the Birds portion and a local beekeeper will be here for the Bees portion. If you are interested in the Birds and Bees, please join us! Please email Laura at or call her at 724-612-2492 to RSVP or learn more about this event.
Want to do Something to Significantly Reduce Global Warming?
Now you can. A new study by The Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, calculates restoring forests is the single most effective solution for mitigating climate change. The researchers determined that new forests could take up two-thirds of the CO2 that has been released into the atmosphere by human activities. More than half of the potential to restore trees was found in just six countries: Russia, the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and China. And southwestern Pennsylvania sits in the middle of an area identified by the study as ready for restoration.
Which Brings Us to This. Join us Saturday, October 19th, 9:00am–12:00pm for the second memorial tree-planting event this year at Penn Forest where we give lot owners and their families (and anyone else who’s interested) an opportunity to help with our forestation efforts by planting trees or shrubs at Penn Forest. 
To purchase a tree, just pick out a tree or shrub from our order form (request it by emailing and return it to Laura with your check. If you like, the tree can be in memory of or in honor of a loved one. Let us know if you will be here to help with the planting or if you need us to plant your tree for you. Orders must be in by October 12th.
And… Reforestation along Colorado Street.  We lost an estimated 200-300 ash trees to the emerald ash borer, and the wooded area along Colorado Street was hardest hit.  Last fall, we removed about 100 dead ash trees there.  We’ve already planted some speckled alders, but we need more trees and shrubs. These plantings will contribute a good diversity of lovely vegetation that will provide a great benefit to wildlife, while ideally keeping invasive species to a minimum.  If you would like to donate a tree or shrub to help with reforestation efforts in this area, we would greatly appreciate it.  The cost to donate is $200 per tree or shrub which covers the costs for the tree, a replacement tree if the first one dies in the first year, a 6’ high deer fence and T-post, and labor for weeding around the tree. Contact Laura by email at or by phone at 724-612-2492 to donate a tree.
Kathy’s Native Wildflower Meadow. August is the month to bring your camera and take pictures of Kathy’s Native Wildflower Meadow. Come by anytime.
Planting Flowers on Graves.  It's nice when people plant flowers on graves, but it's not so nice when the deer eat them. Here’s a list Kathy Raborn gave us of native PA plants that are deer resistant. Read the disclaimer and proceed at your own risk. (Note: We reserve the right to trim or remove plants that grow beyond grave boundaries.)
Did You Know?
You signed up for this newsletter because you are interested in green burial at Penn Forest, so I'm sure you know that we don't allow embalming with toxic chemicals, we bury people in biodegradable coffins or shrouds and we don't use burial vaults. But did you know...  

You can have a viewing and visitation at a funeral home before a green burial. Or if you don't want to use a funeral home at all, we can arrange that too. By chilling the body, green burial can occur up to 10 days after death. You can be an organ donor and still have a green burial. You can be cremated and have your ashes interred at Penn Forest in a biodegradable container.

The choice is yours. Contact Penn Forest for more information, and other options to help you make the best choices for you and your family.

Green Burial Questions?

You've got questions...we've got answers!  Check out our Green Burial Frequently Asked Questions.  Do you have a question that was not answered in the FAQ's? Email us and we will be happy to answer it for you.

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